Do your knees hurt every time you run or do some rigorous workout? Or do you suffer from knee issues because your knees don’t get enough movement? If your answer is in the affirmative it signals that your knees need some strength training. Strengthening knees becomes equally important for those who struggle with weight issues and follow a strict weight training routine as lifting weights does help in shedding some pounds but may lead to some serious knee injuries if knees do not get sufficient exercise as all the weight will weigh down on the knees. We have put together exercises that focus on strengthening key muscles around the knees one at a time. And before you commence the following exercises we advise you to warm up your knees by doing simple marching for 5 minutes and go easy on choosing the exercises depending on your comfort level.
Here Are 8 Exercises To Strengthen Your Knees
1. Thigh Clenches
Lie down on the floor with your legs straight and feet pointing towards the corners of the ceiling. Raise your right leg by bending the knee of that leg so your lower leg stays parallel to your left leg and your thigh is angled upwards at 45 degree against the floor. Keeping your thigh in the same position, raise your lower right leg so your right leg becomes straight and is angled at 45 degrees against the floor. Now slowly bring your lower leg back to its previous position when it becomes parallel to the floor. Remember that when you lift your lower leg you must feel your thigh muscle clench. Do at least 12 to 15 repetitions without any break in between on both legs to strengthen your quadriceps.
2. Quad Stretches
Keeping your back straight stand with your right foot placed 5 inches forward and your left foot placed 5 inches backward. Slowly bend both knees keeping in mind that your right knee bends forward and your left knee bends in downward direction. Stop when your left knee touches the ground. Wait for a minute and slowly straighten your knees to get back to the standing position. Repeat with your left leg placed before your right leg. These knee bends put emphasis on the quadriceps by stretching them. You have to do atleast 8 to 10 stretches on each leg when you start doing this exercise and then slowly increase to 15 to 20 stretches per leg.
3. Chair Lifts
Seat yourself on a chair with your knees pointing in the front and your feet placed firmly on the floor. Lift your right lower leg in upward direction till your leg becomes straight. Wait for a second to gain balance in the straightened leg. Now lift this leg up and down without bending your knees. Aim to lift just an inch above the chair initially. This exercise will put focus on strengthening the area just above your knees and hamstrings. Repeat on your left leg and strive to do a set of 10 to 12 repetitions on each leg.
4. Hamstring Curls
Stand straight and place both your hands on wall or on the back of a chair. Lift your right foot towards your back by bending the knee and aim to keep raising your foot until you feel tension around your hamstrings. Wait for a few seconds and then lower your feet back to its previous position, i.e. on the floor. Repeat these curls for 8 to 12 times on each leg. To ease the tension built around the hamstrings follow these curls by stretching your hamstrings. For this stand straight with your feet placed a feet apart and keeping your back and knees straight touch both your feet alternately with your hands by bending at your waist.
5. Calf Flexes
Stand on floor with your legs and feet placed together. Bring your right foot forward. Keeping your back straight and knees positioned together bend forward by bending your left knee bent and keeping your right leg straight. Now keeping your right heel placed firmly on ground slowly raise your right foot in upward direction till you feel your calf muscle stretch. Wait for 5 seconds and then lower your foot back on the floor. Keep doing this for 10 to 12 times on each leg.
6. Heel Lifts
Performing heel raises regularly is an excellent way to strengthen calf muscles, ankles and feet which again helps in destraining your knees. Stand upright by placing your forefeet at the edge of a raised surface or a step and your heels planted on the floor. Slowly begin to lift your heels as high as you can without bending knees until all of your body weight falls on your toes. Wait for a couple of seconds and then lower your heels gently back to the floor. While you lower your heels down you should feel your entire calf muscle and the shin flex a bit. Perform this exercise for 12 to 15 times each day.
7. Belly Bridge
Lie down flat on your back with your legs bent at right angle, feet placed on the ground with toes slightly raised towards the ceiling, hands stretched out in front and placed on the floor with palms facing down. Keeping your back straight and placing your body weight on your heels slowly raise your waist upwards without slouching or bending till you assume the shape of a bridge. When you are raising your waist make sure that you use your bottom and thigh muscles to elevate your body. Wait for a few seconds and gently lower down your midriff back on the floor. Repeat two sets of this exercise consisting of 10 to 12 repetitions in a single set.
8. Stair Step-Ups
This exercise can be done easily on stairs or any sturdy raised area of about 8 to 10 inches height. Stand at the base of the step or stairs. Lift your right foo first and place it on the step and raise your left foot for you to stand on the step. Count till 5 and then step down with your right foot first and then with your left foot. Do atleast 15 to 20 repetitions of this exercise. The whole process of stepping up and down will give sufficient movement to your knees. If done consistently this exercise will lessen the pain you feel while moving your knees.